Posted on: June 1st, 2010 BD REVIEW: Undisputed III: Redemption
Undisputed III: Redemption
Directed by Isaac Florentine
StarringScott Adkins, Mykel Shannon Jenkins
Available on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, On Demand and for Download
I wouldn’t blame you for walking past this film in the video store or your local electronics chain. The cover art wears its target audience on its sleeve, and no major stars are attached to the film. Hell, I initially chuckled at the idea of reviewing the film, as direct-to-video sequels – especially sequels to a film that I don’t really remember – usually trigger a vibrant red-flag for my precious movie-watching time. I couldn’t have been more wrong about Undisputed III: Redemption. While it may not have the star power or the acting prowess of a large-budget, popular action film, Undisputed III really holds up on its own. The majority of that statement comes from the fight scenes and their choreography and displays of athleticism from the actor-fighters involved.
I may have seen the original Undisputed, with Wesley Snipes, but honestly I can’t remember. I know a lot of folks that do remember the prison boxing flick from 2002, though the general census is that it was entirely unremarkable. It did warrant two sequels however, and dare I say the first two probably can’t be near as good as this hidden gem. In the film, Uri Boyka (played by X-Men Origins Wolverine‘s Scott Adkins – he was Deadpool’s body double) returns – he was the bad guy in Undisputed II, apparently – to take the gold in a massive prison fighting tournament, in which prison fighters from around the world converge in a real-life style Mortal Kombat. That’s really all you need to know, and is told, of the story in the film.
While the superfluous narrative may deter you, the film really is exceptional when it comes to the fight scenes. Director Isaac Florentine brings not one ounce of Asian-style fight choreography or cinematography, and that is a good thing. The fights are wonderfully executed; every punch, every spin-kick and every roundhouse feels genuine and connecting. This isn’t Crouching Tiger eloquence, this is Fight Club meets Rocky. To further my movie mash-up comparisons, Undisputed III feels like the love child of a Van Damme film and the infamous fight scene from They Live. Florentine does employ some style though, with the occasion use of the speed-ramping technique ala Zack Snyder. It isn’t really in excess though, and I found it did add to the tension during the bouts.
Scott Adkins’ Boyka isn’t really the best actor – let’s face it, I wouldn’t call most of the actors in the film ‘the best’ – but his athleticism and maneuverability makes up for it. It’s amazing watching a guy his size move like that. The same can be said for the film’s bad guy, played by Chilean actor Marko Zaror. His character is even bigger than Adkins and has the same retardedly-awesome calibre of martial arts ability. Again comparing this film to the Rocky series, Zaror’s Dolor is more of a pro-wrestling caricature, taunting his opponents and the crowd and showing a general lack of professionalism. However professionalism is measured in prison fighting anyways. He’s a simple character and a decent bad guy against Adkins. The final fight between the two is definitely entertaining, complete with a big finish that I won’t spoil, but I guarantee hasn’t concluded a martial arts movie.
While the film is certainly a low-budget direct-to-video feature, it is a valiant entry into the all-but-dead fighting movie sub-genre. It was shot on RED and looks crisp as hell on blu-ray, and Florentine is surprisingly capable behind the camera. The set design is genuine and gritty, the soundtrack is a tad contrived though high-quality and it generally feels like a well-made film.
If you’re looking for a thrilling prison drama, you might not find it here. If you grew up on 80’s action films or are really into mixed martial arts, then I highly recommend checking out Undisputed III. It could very well be the most surprisingly fun flick you’ll see this year.
Undisputed III Trailer
Undisputed III Clip – Dolor Fight
Available on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, On Demand and for Download now.
One Response to “BD REVIEW: Undisputed III: Redemption”
What Is This MORTAL KOMBAT Short? « Giant Killer Squid - Film, Comics, News, Reviews and more Says:
June 8th, 2010 at 7:26 pm
[…] You’ll no doubt recognize the great Michael Jai White as Det. Jackson “Jax” Briggs and Jeri Ryan as Sonya Blade. It should also be noted that the fight choreography was provided by Larnell Stovall, who was responsible for the awesome fight scenes in Undisputed III: Redemption. […]